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How to Customize Android's Home Screens 1 - Wallpapers and Apps

This is really Android's strength! There are many ways you can tailor your Android device to suit your needs. Here are the most common methods for changing the home screens:

  1. Change wallpaper
  2. Add, move or remove a shortcut to an app
  3. Add a widget
  4. Add a contact or browser bookmark

Let's look at these in more detail in this and the next chapter.

Change wallpaper

This is quite easy. Just long-press an empty space on any home screen, then a pop-up dialog will appear that presents you will different sources for wallpapers. Pick the one you like, then chose the wallpaper you want.

Android supports a special wallpaper called "live wallpaper", which provides some moving images, for example a waterfall, as you background. Be aware though that live wallpapers can slow down the scrolling on your device and use more battery than a static wallpaper.

Add, move, or remove a shortcut for an app

To add a short-cut to an app just go to the App Drawer that was explained in the previous chapter, hold the icon until the screen changes, then drag it to the position on one of your home screens.

You can also move an app shortcut on your home-screen by holding it, then move it to the new position you want.

To remove a short-cut just hold it then move it to the trash-can icon that appears while you hold it. Note: This will not delete your app, it will just remove its shortcut.

One useful thing you can do in most Android 4 systems is to create Folders of icons on your home screen. Just drag an app icon on top of another, then Android will automatically create a folder, bordered by a circle.

You can also place an app icon in the Apps Dock (sometimes called the Favorites tray) at the bottom of your home screens. You touch, hold, & slide to move one of the Favorites icons out of the Apps Dock. Then use the same technique to move a folder or another app icon into the empty slot in the Apps Dock.

Let's look at a tablet example. Once you're holding an app in the App Drawer the screen will change and you see your home screen with small grid markers which show where you can place the icon for the app shortcut. You can also move it right or left to change which home screen you want it placed.

Add Apps on tablet

Alternative method

On many Android devices running the older Android 2.3 version you can also use the long-press method to add apps. Just long-press on an empty space on a home screen and you'll get a pop-up. Let start by looking at a Samsung TouchWiz example:

Long-Press on Home Screen -> Shortcuts -> Applications -> Choose app

1 Select Shortcuts 2 Select Applications 3 Choose Application

As you can see you first get a pop-up menu, where you can choose what to add, select Shortcuts, then select Applications, then pick the app you want to add a shortcut for. Here's another example with an Android 2.3 system running CM7.1. The same principle and method applies, but the screens look different.

1 Select Shortcuts 2 Select Applications 3 Choose Application